It is often difficult for elderly and disabled residents who can’t drive to find transportation services in their communities. According to a survey of about 1,650 people conducted by KRC Research on behalf of the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, 80 percent of people with disabilities and 40 percent of older adults who don’t drive said they couldn’t get around.
It is probably no surprise that almost everyone over sixty finds growing older very unpleasant. The aging process brings wisdom, but it also brings physical and mental challenges. In aging, a person’s vision, night vision, hearing, and mobility are all affected, so they may no longer be able to drive. Being unable to drive can be devastating for an older person.
It is no longer possible for them to run to the store if they need groceries or medications. They can’t drive to a doctor’s appointment. It isn’t easy for them to visit a friend or family member when they feel lonely. The loss of independence that comes with being unable to drive is significant. As a result, feelings of isolation, worthlessness, and depression may develop.
Fortunately, there’s always hope even if elderly or disabled persons cannot drive themselves to errands, appointments, and social events. Furthermore, helping the elderly get around doesn’t have to be the sole responsibility of family members and caregivers. Transportation services are available for the elderly and disabled in a safe and relatively inexpensive way in our new and exciting technological age.
Here is everything the elderly and disabled need to know about their transportation options and services.
1. Para-transit Services
Transportation services for the elderly and disabled are available under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Public transportation services in a city or town must include complimentary or para-transit services for people with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires complementary para-transit services to be available within 3/4 miles of a bus or rail station for no more than twice the fixed route fare.
According to the practical definition of disability, many older people are eligible for services.
People who can’t readily use public transportation can travel thanks to para-transit services. The majority of para-transit vehicles are wheelchair and disability-accessible vans. Curb-to-curb service is a common feature of para-transit services along their authorized complementary routes.
2. Using Ride-hailing Services
Ride-hailing services can also be helpful for elderly and disabled people. If a senior has a smartphone, ride-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft provide access to a car wherever they are. Family members can order the ride using a smartphone if the elder doesn’t feel confident using one.
In addition to being practical, companies like Uber and Lyft offer a variety of accessible vehicles and services to cater to the requirements of older citizens and persons with disabilities.
You don’t need to schedule the car daily – call whenever you need it. Using a ride-sharing app, you can see the exact distance between you and the vehicle. The number and name of the driver are also displayed. But remember that the quality can also differ because the driver may change each time.
3. Private Ride Services
D2D, or Door-To-Door, is a term used to refer to private companies that provide door-to-door assistance for a fee. They are similar to taxis but are designed specifically for the elderly and the disabled. A rider is assisted in getting from their residence to their vehicle and exiting the car through the door.
Additionally, assistance can be given with carrying baggage, loading wheelchairs, and carrying purchases bought while on the trip. Some cars have motorized wheelchair transportation capabilities (at an additional charge). And other cars, known as “cabulances” (cab + ambulance), are even made for those with more serious medical conditions.
Companies that offer ride services privately are more flexible, often allowing one to schedule a ride on-demand or on the same day. However, this flexibility comes at a price. The cost of a private ride for a senior can range from twenty to forty dollars. These rides are usually only available in urban and suburban areas.
4. Volunteer Programs
As indicated by the name, these are programs where volunteers provide door-to-door transportation to help aging and disabled people. Programs like these are independent and regional. As a result, generalizing the particulars is challenging. It’s also paramount to remember that not all regions of the country provide these programs.
Volunteer drivers typically drive their cars; thus, they can’t carry motorized wheelchairs. Nevertheless, because there’s typically just one passenger, drivers can assist their riders in leaving their houses and entering their destinations’ doors.
Before booking a ride, riders must register with the program. A rider must sign up for the program and schedule specific rides, usually a day or two in advance. Most of these programs don’t restrict passengers’ reasons for requesting rides.
Access to affordable transportation is crucial for preserving independence and wellness for the elderly and disabled. Seniors cannot remain in their homes as they age without reliable transportation to doctor’s appointments and to buy food and household supplies.
Another significant issue for older people who don’t drive is social isolation. It results in a lower quality of life and accelerates the process of dying. Access to inexpensive transportation helps elderly and disabled people stay in touch with their loved ones, friends, and the community.